Day of Exile and Imprisonment
Tuesday May 16, 2017, Noon at Ober Park
Remembering May 16, 1942
The Day the Vashon Japanese American Community was
Forcefully Removed and Imprisoned
May 16, is the 75th Anniversary of the exile and imprisonment of the Vashon Japanese American Community during WW II. What is now Ober Park was then called the Island Club. It was the assembly location for Vashon. At noon on May 16, 1942 the Japanese Americans on the island were assembled, loaded on to military trucks with armed guards, and taken to the North End ferry dock where a special ferry took them to Seattle and to trains waiting to transport them to Pinedale, California where they began 3 years imprisonment in the American concentration camps.
Five island groups - The Friends of Mukai, the Heritage Museum, the Land Trust, the Park District, and the Vashon Japanese American Research Project are sponsoring this remembrance event.
An Interview with Mary Matsuda Gruenewald
Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, who was 90 years old in 2015 when this interview took place, is a retired Seattle health care professional and author of the memoir Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps (NewSage Press, 2005).
Mary Matsuda was a 17 year old living on her family's strawberry farm on Vashon Island on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The island's Japanese-American leaders were taken away by the FBI and detained in secret. Her family knew the government would come for them next, so they burned all of their Japanese possessions - family photographs, her father's music, treasured books, even her dolls. They did not want to look even faintly sympathetic to Japan, the country responsible for the Pearl Harbor devastation. Five months after the attack, on May 16, 1942, the Matsuda family and the other Japanese-American families on Vashon Island were forced to evacuate Vashon Island, and moved into the "protective custody" of inland internment camps for three years, along with almost 120,000 others of Japanese descent.
This interview captures parts of Mary's stories that are not fully covered in Looking Like the Enemy, and asks specific questions about her experience on Vashon Island and her knowledge of the Japanese-American community on Vashon before and after World War II.
To view the interview Click Here
We want you to join us to make this happen, because This Place Matters!
Over 250 members of the Friends of Mukai agree that This Place Matters.